Explore Snæfellsjökull National Park
Iceland › Snæfellsjökull National Park
Added by Chris Mongeau
Amazing views of Snæfellsjökull glacier and volcano with pristine fjords. Way less frequented than other parts of Iceland.
When I planned my road trip through Iceland, I found plenty of information and advice online for the southwestern part of the island, as well as up north in the area around Akureyri and Lake Myvatn, but there isn't a whole lot to be found about the northwestern region. Snæfellsjökull National Park is one of the countless gems in the area, and it's a great beginning point if you plan to explore the Westfjords. Located on the Snæfellsness Peninsula, it's about 5 1/2 hours from Akureyri, and 2 hours from Reykjavik. After leaving the 1, you'll enter the peninsula on route 54, which does a loop around the eastern portion and brings you to the road for the park (Útnesvegur/Route 574). 574 does a loop through the park and goes through several of the small towns on the peninsula. The largest town on the peninsula is Stykkishólmur, about an hour from the park, with a population of about 1,100. Snæfellsness is where you start to realize just exactly how uninhabited so much of Iceland is, and as you travel further north into the Westfjords, it becomes even emptier.
Snæfellsjökull National Park covers the very end of the peninsula and isn't large, but within the area there are hiking trails to the glacier, craters with trails to the top, lava fields, and beautifully rugged cliffs and inlets. There is an F road (F570) which takes you up Snæfellsjökull, but you'll need a 4x4 vehicle with big tires, and the road is often closed even in the summer due to impassability. In terms of hiking Snæfellsjökull, 570 is a great route because it's a wide and easy trail to follow, as long as the weather permits.
The towns of Arnarstapi and Hellnar are right before the park borders if you're in the southern part of the peninsula. There's a ~2 mile hiking trail between these two towns that gives awesome views of the dramatic seaside cliffs. Once you're at the end of the trail in Hellnar, there is a small cafe wedged right on the side of the hill that serves really great coffee and excellent food (two things that are very difficult to find in this region).
If you're planning to stay the night, the best place to camp is just outside of the tiny town of Hellnar and after the turn for 570. You'll see a turn off with a parking lot and signs for Londrangar on your left if coming from Hellnar. Londrangar is the towering pair of mossy rocks by the sea and is really worth the hike out to. There are no amenities, but the trade off is that you'll probably be entirely alone with a volcano and lava field by the edge of some enormous cliffs all for your enjoyment. After visiting Londrangar, head to Djúpalónssandur, a rocky beach area inside of a cove. Here there are remains of the Grimsby fishing trawler Epine (GY7) which wrecked in 1948. Both Djúpalónssandur and the cove in Hellnar are awesome places to photograph.
The Snæfellsness Peninsula can get very cold and bitter, even during the warmest months. It's usually quite windy and overcast, so it's important to be prepared before getting there.
- Winter sleeping bag
- First aid
- Hiking boots
- Rain jacket
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Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography
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Awesome seaside hiking
There are some awesome trails in this national park and some of the best ones hug the jagged coastline. The high cliffs not only form a dramatic coastline, but also serve as a home to many birds (hence the white stain on the rocks and foul smell). The hiking is pretty easy here, but the park also offers more challenging terrain near the glacier.
I had a lot of fun exploring the unique volcano formed landscape along the Londrangar basalt cliffs. The abstract rock formations on the rough coastline, make it an amazing place for any photographer.
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